Wageningen should introduce a binding study advice (BSA) for first-year Bachelor’s students, says the Study Success working group in its recent advisory report.
A BSA means that students who do not have enough credits at the end of the first and/or second year are excluded from the degree programme.
Almost all Dutch universities already have a BSA. Wageningen was opposed to the idea for a long time but the working group says this position is no longer tenable given the undertaking in the performance agreements with the government to have 75 per cent of Bachelor’s students graduate within four years. The figure in 2012 was 67 per cent.
The working group advises the Executive Board to introduce a BSA limit of 36 credits from the 2014-2015 academic year. This will let promising students who get off to a difficult start catch up in the second year. The working group is not keen on linking the BSA to a compulsory Study Skills course as poor skills are probably not the only reason students get behind. ‘The wrong choice of degree, a lack of motivation or a lack of talent could also be reasons for disappointing results.’
According to the working group, an important prerequisite for the introduction of a BSA is that students are notified in good time if they are in the danger zone. There also needs to be an appropriate solution for subjects that are known to be tough. The working group will now be tackling this issue.